Aunty's last Tea Lady | radioinfo

Aunty's last Tea Lady

Monday 25 September, 2017
Dot Strong. Pic: ABC

Although the original edifice that houses ABC Radio was completed in 1989, the upgraded complex at 700 Harris Street, Ultimo is still a modern, functional building. No mere office block with studios but a spectacular media eco system within a soaring atrium.

Though, over the years, I’d been there several times before, I still found it impressive as I was ushered into, or rather onto, The Dot Strong Terrace - a broad, open space leading to an open courtyard with barbecue and outdoor furniture scattered all around.

When not used for ABC business - in this case for welcoming OzPod guests - it is where staff gather for lunch or a few minutes of R & R.

Another significant area within the  ABC Radio building, the Eugene Goossens Hall, honours the great conductor who contributed much to music in radio’s golden age.

Yet, as a Tea Lady, Dot Strong’s contribution to staff morale was, in its own way, what Sir Eugene Goossens’ was to music. 

Dot was, perhaps, the greatest Tea Lady that ever lived and it is therefore fitting that this staff amenity be named for her rather than some past Managing Director or other bureaucrat.

Below is a picture I took of the plaque that commemorates Dot’s 21 years at Aunty. The last sentence, Those who worked with Dot Strong will never forget her daily reminders that “tea’s on,” nor the less gentle injunction to return all cups after use or have your arm broken gives a clue to the inspiration behind Grahame Bond's character, Aunty Jack (left).


 Peter Saxon


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26 September 2017 - 9:11am
She was a fiesty old bird. I remember her telling off Bob Hawke for some of his policies... and for not returning his cup last time he was interviewed.
5 October 2017 - 6:45pm
I knew Dot Strong from when I'd go to work as a kid with my Dad, Peter Wilkinson,​ and through my teenage years with work experience and volunteering, until ABC radio moved to Ultimo. She was a huge Elvis fan, I spent many weekends recording Elvis movies for her from TV and editing out the commercial breaks on VHS. She lived right next to the ABC in Forbes Street. She always gave me an extra biscuit. Definitely loved by all staff.
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